Reading Room

Backward priorities in federal budget

June, 5, 2020
Tracy Press


President Trump has requested an increase to the budget for the nuclear weapons stockpile. Further, his request reduces funds for science, environmental cleanup and other programs that meet human needs.

It is clear, with the coronavirus crisis that has shaken our country, that we need more civilian science and infrastructure, not new weapons of nuclear destruction. Rather than building weapons at the expense of everything else, the United States should meet its security goals with fewer warheads and more funding for programs that actually make us safer, such as education, science, health systems and environmental protection.

With this in mind, it looks like the administration’s budget request for fiscal 2021 has its priorities backwards.

One example can be found in the funding for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The overall funding request is for more than $2 billion, up 7% from last year. Yet, the budget for science at the lab will shrink in fiscal 2021 to 1.7% of the total funding ($36 million).

Livermore Lab has four of the top 10 most serious “High Risk” facilities in the nation at its main site. It also has another “High Risk” facility at Site 300 near Tracy. Tri-Valley CAREs members have raised the alarm in Washington, D.C., and locally about these abandoned buildings and the complexity of this matter.

It is sad to see that our community is forgotten, workers and the public are put at risk, and our tax money is gong towards harmful nuclear weapons rather than cleaning up the contaminants that have been left in place carelessly throughout the years.

I stand for more funding at the lab for civilian science and environmental cleanup. The coronavirus pandemic should be a wake-up call for all of us. I invite lab workers and the community to stand with me.

Raiza Bettis


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